South Western passengers set for more railway woe in 2020

RAIL campaigners have warned of further ‘dismay’ for South Western passengers as the new year is set to bring in threat of strikes – on top of fare hikes.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am
A South Western Railway train. Picture: Victoria Jones/ PA Wire

Despite almost a month of striking that started in December, the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) has started the process of balloting its members for new strikes in a dispute over the use of guards on trains.

It is likely this will mean a fresh wave of strikes will begin in February.

And today train fares across all UK providers rose by an average of 2.7 per cent.

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This sparked renewed criticism from South Western Railway Watch.

Campaigns coodinator for the group, Jeremy Varns, said: ‘Passengers will be dismayed to see yet another round of fare increases after prolonged industrial action, falling punctuality and the failure of South Western Railway to deliver several of its stated franchise commitments.

‘Many rail users will feel that they are paying more but getting less.

‘Rail travel is becoming more and more unaffordable, and passengers in the UK continue to pay significantly higher fares than our European counterparts.

‘A top priority for the new government must be to expand public transport and reform the way services and managed and funded.’

The most recent South Western strike started on December 2 and ended on January 1, with a break on December 12 for the general election.

It is thought around 800 drivers and guards took part.